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Brown’s to host customer appreciation

By Staff | Oct 21, 2011

Brown's auto technician Greg Faircloth replaces a timing belt and water pump on a 2005 Volkswagan Passat Wednesday, Oct. 19. Brown's will have a customer appreciation celebration on Saturday, Oct. 29 to celebrate 25 years of business. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

When Shepherdstown native Ronnie Brown completed his schooling at Nashville Auto Diesel College in Tennessee, he was already set on what he wanted to do. Pulling himself up by his bootstraps and starting his own business in his hometown was what Ronnie set out to accomplish.

“When he started it, it was an opportunity to bring to Shepherdstown a state-of-the-art continuing education facility,” said Maria Brown, who co-owns the business with her husband.

Maria, who left an accounting job soon after the couple had their first child to run the books at Brown’s, said the couple has learned over time to work together to run the successful operation, which has been in existence since 1986.

“God’s blessed us for sure,” she said. “(Ronnie’s) got his part, I’ve got my part and we meet in the middle on some things.”

Now, 25 years later, Ronnie and the rest of the staff of Brown’s Tire, Towing and Auto Care want to celebrate the milestone with their customers.

Brown’s will host a customer appreciation day Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A rain date is set for the folliwng day.

The event is to “thank the customers and community for the past 25 years and counting,” Maria said.

The day will feature food, activities, vendor demonstrations and information, giveaways and door prizes, including two $100 gift certificates for Brown’s. Brown’s will also roll out a new customer savings program.

Brown’s employees also ask that customers bring donations – cash, gift cards, toys and non-perishable food items – to donate to the Wee Disciples Christian Academy and the Jefferson County Community Ministries. Individuals who bring donations for the organizations will receive a $5 service coupon to use towards a future visit at Brown’s.

“We’ve got a lot that will hopefully draw the public down,” Maria said. “It’s just mainly to say thank you.”

The auto care shop, which over the years has employed as many as nine employees, currently has eight individuals as part of the operating business, which supports seven families in the Jefferson and Berkeley County communities.

One employee, William Prather, began working part time at Brown’s while he was still in high school. Upon graduation, he came on full time and has worked various positions at the business, from a master technician in the shop to driving the dump and tow trucks.

“It’s been good,” Prather said of his 23 years at Brown’s. “(I’m) glad we’ve lasted this long. You just don’t see many shops lasting this long.”

Bryan Anders, service manager, has been with the business for the past four years. He said in the last handful of years, he has seen the quality of business grow leaps and bounds.

“I believe that in the last five years, they’ve changed night and day in the quality of work,” Anders said. “Everyone here cares about what they’re doing.”

Anders said one misconception about the business is that Brown’s work primarily centers around tires. But, he said, less than 20 percent of their work in the shop revolves around tires. He said Brown’s offers all types of maintenance on all makes and models, except body work.

And both Ronnie and Maria agree that not only has the store grown in terms of quality and offerings but how technology plays a role in the every-day operations.

“We’ve grown in leaps and bounds in just technology, social media,” Maria said. “We’ve seen it grow from a very manual to a very technical, media-oriented (business).”

Maria said the rise in technologies not only in car maintenance but also in customer service and advertising – such as Facebook – have allowed the auto shop to run its business more efficiently. Instead of reaching a couple of dozen customers each day, the staff can reach thousands.

“With those relationships, if you give to your community, they give back,” she said.

For more information about the customer appreciation day, visit www.brownstire.com or find Brown’s on Facebook.